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Race Result

Racer: Keith Bohnenberger
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:06:16
Overall Place: 735 / 1166
Age Group Place: 91 / 133
Comment: yikes

Race Report:

First I need to say that after this race I have a new appreciation for some of the accomplishments that you all have written about. Ironmen/women, double ironman, 100 mile runs. Taking the step from sprint to olympic makes me realized even more how truly remarkable those accomplishments are.

Lessons learned:
The race is not really over at the finish line.
Chafing is a painful contraceptive. I need to get me some body glide!

First Olympic distance race.
First .91 mile open water swim.
First 10k run.

Swim 100/133 30:01
T1 102/133 4:58
Bike 96/133 1:28:16 17.3
T2 90/133 1:50
Run 81/133 1:01:12 9:51
Total 91/133 3:06:16

My bike VO2 anaerobic threshold zone 150 - 159

Heart Rates for the Race
Race 163 avg
swim 30:01 148 avg
T1 4:57 162 avg
bike 1:28 164 avg
T2 1:49 159 avg
run 1:01 177 avg

A handful of fig newtons and a banana

Pre-race question was do I race the swim and the bike and then quit; hold back on the swim and the bike and save my energy for the run or do I race the whole thing. The problem as you may recall was that I had little run training in me because of knee problems. I ran 3 miles each of the previous two Sundays before the race but did not run for about 2 months before that. To put it in a little more perspective, I think itís a safe bet that Aaron ran more miles in his last race than I ran in my whole life(basketball and other sports like that not included).. The overwhelming response was that I should race it. After giving it some thought I decided that the main reason I was doing this race as my first Olympic distance race was to get some experience for Reston. If I didnít race it, I wouldn't really be getting the experience I was looking for. I also decided I was going to wear my HR monitor but turn off the alarm and not look at it during the race. So Guzak, no horror at going over my target zone. I wanted to race by feel but I also wanted the HR data for post race reference..

Trasition setup was no problem. Off to the swim start. Chat with Rob W a bit and it was time to go. The first problem of the race was the sunrise completely blinding me in my fogged up goggles. I tried the spit thing but it didnít help. I could not even see the first marker. Oh well Iíll just place myself in the back of the pack and follow the green caps. I was breathing to my right and as long as I saw someone over there I figured I was going the right way. After the first couple of turns we headed back away from the sun and sighting was much better. I saw a gray cap and was psyched I was actually passing someone from an earlier heat. Then I started seeing the purple caps and was bummed that I was being passed by a later heat. I got out of the water in 30 minutes which for me was an excellent swim. It was great to see some RATS and hear Jen yelling in T1. T1 lasted almost 5 minutes so it seems like there should be something to say but it was pretty uneventful.

The first mile of the bike I took a little slow because in my previous 2 races I felt like I couldnít get my legs under me after the swim. I think this helped my ease into it more. I figured it was a good time to eat a gel as well. Then the second problem of the race hit. I reached down to grab my water bottle and as I was pulling it up it hit the top tube, slipped out of my hand and went sliding off the side of the road. Hmmm do I stop and get it or do I keep going. I didnít want to cause a crash so I just kept going. I had an accelerade bottle and I remembered reading that there was a water station at mile 12. I started feeling better on the bike and was actually pedaling down hills. Got some water at the water station which I think was actually at mile 8 or so. The rest of the bike was enjoyable and uneventful. I struggled up a few of the hills looking for a "great granny" gear that I didnít have but in general I was pretty happy with my bike and felt pretty strong. I think I lost focus a couple times though.

T2 was uneventful as well but now I new the hard part was about to begin. The run was brutal. I wasnít trained for it and I knew it was going to be painful but yikes. I paced my self very slowly and tried to keep consistent throughout. I didnít want to walk at all. That plan ended at the first aid station. I could drink and run so I walked through the aid station and drank some water and dumped some on my head. At that point I made the deal that I would only walk through the aid stations unless I was cramping up or feeling sharp knee pain. Mile 2. Its hurting but I can do that 3 more times. Then the hills. Ouch. Calf muscle is tight, hip, Achilles ..... I lost track of everything that was hurting. Mile 3. I think I can do that one more time. Mile 4 I grabbed an ice cup and dumped it in my hat. It was gone in about 10 steps. At that point I thought that I could actually fry an egg on my bald head, but who would eat it? Youíre a real triathlon fan if you eat the egg fried on Keiths naked head! Or perhaps I could sell it on e-bay. Egg fried on head of bald triathlete during race. Anything I could think of to keep myself amused. At this point it was one step at a time. Do not walk. No cramping. No sharp knee pain. Do not walk. The hill at mile 5 almost did me in. My legs were now screaming but no cramping, no sharp knee pain, one step at a time. Do not walk. I got a bit of a boost heading around the lake but I was really, really hurting at this point. Keep moving, keep moving. One step at a time. I came around the lake and the closer I got the harder it got. Finally a hundred yards away I saw some more RATS and finally saw my wife and kids. I managed to give my kids a high five and crossed the finish line!

Now here is where things get real interesting:
So here I am a few yards passed the finish line of my first Olympic distance triathlon. I have never been here before. I have never been here mentally or physically before either. Mattís wife said she thought he was somewhere between crying and passing out. That was exactly it. I bent over and put my hands on my knees. The volunteer took off my timing chip. He put his hand on my back and asked my if I was alright. I didnít answer. I didnít know. I had never been here before. I stayed there for what seemed like minutes. The volunteer stayed there with me with his hand resting on my back. I didnít know what to do. I figured at this point I would be smiling, hugging my family, hanging out with some RATS talking about the race. It was over, I did it. But it really wasnít over. I had nothing left. I was spent. Physically my legs were shaking and mentally I was toast. The fight goes on. It didnít seem like a good idea to sit down but I had no energy. Finally I knew I had to just walk a bit. I donít remember if I said thanks to the volunteer but I sure hope I did. What he did was very comforting. I walked over and grabbed some water and some Gatorade. I went over to acknowledge my wife and kids but then I had to turn away. My wife knew I was hurting and she just let me be. From this point, I repeated the following: Gatorade, water, hose down, check in with the family. At one point I saw Jen, she said congrats and ask me how I felt. I just shook my head. This routine lasted about an hour and I finally started getting to the point where I thought I was ok. I ran into Aaron around this time and was starting to feel much better. I chatted with him a bit and he introduced my to Guzak. It was great to see so many RATS out there. I finally made it up that damn hill to get some food. I didnít eat much but enough to give me a little energy. My son started breaking down a bit so it was time to go. My wife went to get the car and my daughter helped me get my stuff. I loaded everything up on my bike, my daughter pushed my son up the grass hill in his stroller and we waited for my wife. We were sitting in some shade and I was telling my daughter how I lost my water bottle during the race. She said,
ĒDaddy, Iíll by you a new one with my own money.Ē Then she got a little nervous and said, ďDaddy, how much are water bottles.Ē My wife drove home and when we got there I popped some advil and tried to take a nap with my son. I couldnít sleep but I got some rest in. My wife brought us a pizza and a steak sandwich for dinner and I finally felt like eating. I felt ok until around bed time. Then I got a really nasty headache and I started getting the chills and a fever. My wife would roll over and touch me and mention how hot I was (and not in a good way). My head was killing me and I was going between getting the chills and sweating my butt off. This lasted for from Sunday night until Tuesday night. My lovely wife gets big points for spending her whole weekend at the race and then for pampering my in my state of uselessness for two and a half days. I donít know what the deal with the headache, fever, and chills was but it knocked me out for 2 and half solid days. Dehydration? Allergies? Normal cold with really bad timing?
Anyway, I finished the race but I feel like Columbia made me pay heavily for it. On a positive side my knees are feeling ok and I am bouncing back. Got to get back out there for Reston!

Thanks again to all the RATS that were out there racing and cheering us on. If you know anyone who was involved in running this race or volunteered for this race please thank them for me. I thought the race was run extremely well and the volunteers were awesome!